Welcome back to NHL Predictions! Each day, the Last Word on Hockey team will break down every game and give our NHL predictions for each game. There are only two games on the NHL slate for Sunday, February 21st. Be sure to look for our NHL predictions tomorrow.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Flyers 0 – 4 Bruins
The Philadelphia Flyers are set to take on the Boston Bruins in an outdoor match on Lake Tahoe today at 7 p.m. In their four meetings this season, the Bruins have defeated the Flyers every time. While two have gone past regulation, Philadelphia hasn’t been able to beat Boston. Let’s see if moving things outdoors can change that.
The Bruins are currently sitting at number one in the East Division with 22 points. Fourth in the league, the Bruins hold a record of 10-3-2. These two teams have been battling for the first spot in their division since the season started. While this game, in particular, can’t change the rankings, it can bring the Flyers to within just one point of the lead.
While the Flyers record is spotty in outdoor games and they are going into this latest one with a severely depleted squad–Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Jakub Voracek, and defenseman Justin Braun didn’t even make the trip to Nevada–they have one advantage on their side. Philadelphia head coach Alain Vigneault has never lost an outdoor game. As for the Bruins, not only do they have a history of winning outdoor games against the Flyers, but they have proven they can beat them in the 2020-21 season. While Philadelphia has the will and the coaching to take this game, the big names on the Covid-19 protocol list will keep that from happening.
Prediction: Bruins win 5-3
Washington Capitals vs. New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0 – 0 Devils
The first matchup of eight this season between these storied teams, the Washington Capitals, and New Jersey Devils face off at 2 p.m. Sitting at fourth and seventh, respectively, in the East Division rankings, both clubs have something to prove. The Capitals have been on a downward spiral since the end of January, losing to the New York Rangers just last night. They need to find their game and fast if they want to stay in playoff contention, not to mention beat the Devils today.
The Devils, on the other hand, have been looking pretty good. With a loss to the Buffalo Sabres yesterday, Mackenzie Blackwood fell just short of tying a franchise record for point-streak to start the season. They currently have 14 points in 12 games, the least played out of all East Division teams. Naming Nico Hischier captain, the New Jersey Devils look to the youngest captain in the league to lead them. Playing his season debut against the Sabres yesterday, Hischier lost his first game as captain. The Devils need more time to get used to this new dynamic, which is why the Capitals will take this game, despite their own issues.
Prediction: Capitals win 3-2.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Canadiens 1 – 1 Senators
The Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators face off for the third time this season tonight. Montreal has shown some talent this year. They sit at eleventh in the league, with a record of 9-4-2 and 20 points, when they only made the playoffs last year because 24 teams qualified. Although they seem to be a better team than last year, they have their fair share of problems. Carey Price does not look the Vezina goaltender we all know he is. The whole team lacks the energy that had them winning earlier in the season. The Canadiens need to find that physicality and speed they showcased in January if they want to make a 16-team playoff.
The Ottawa Senators are the worst team in the league. Winning only four of the 19 games they played, there is something fundamentally wrong with this club. Their shining moment of the season was coming back from a 5-1 deficit, to beat the number one team in the league, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Two games later they were throttled by the Leafs, 7-3. The Ottawa Senators will lose their 15th game of the season tonight.
Prediction: Canadiens win 3-0.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Jets 1 – 1 Canucks
The Winnipeg Jets and the Vancouver Canucks are 1-1 in the 2 games they played this season. Tonight’s matchup will be the tiebreaker. On Friday night, the Jets shutout the Canucks to collect two points and move up in the North Division rankings. Currently sitting at third in the North with a record of 10-6-1, Winnipeg has finally found their game.
As for the Vancouver Canucks, they haven’t been looking too hot. Holding steady in the sixth spot of the North, the Canucks hold a record of 8-12-1. Vancouver’s goaltending issues and inability to keep up with the Jet’s offensive production will keep them from winning this game.
Prediction: Jets win 4-1.
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